The US Navy infrared search and track (IRST) system has satisfied all requirements for Milestone B and will enter the engineering and manufacturing development phase of the program.

The IRST, being built by Boeing, is a passive long-wave infrared sensor system that allows long-range detection and tracking of enemies under normal and electronic attack environments.

The system, to be employed on the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, will increase the aircraft survivability and lethality in both offensive and defensive counter-air missions.

F/A-18 and EA-18G programme manager captain Mark Darrah said, “This new capability will give the warfighter an advantage over traditional fire control systems for air-to-air missions in a high-threat environment.”

The new capability is part of the US Navy F/A-18E/F flight plan, to ensure the sustainability of the aircraft to defend existing and emerging threats to 2025 and beyond.

After the engineering and manufacturing development phase, the programme will request a low-rate initial production decision in mid 2014.